PHOTOGRAPHY DURING COVID
**UPDATED JANUARY 26TH, 2021** Looks like Ontario is in another province wide lockdown due to Covid. The new restrictions are extended and predicted to be in place until February 11th, 2021. Below will include how the new restrictions will be affecting my photography services. The biggest adjustment will be for my Scarborough based portrait studio which is closed until further notice. This is specifically outlined in Ontario’s Covid-19: Provincewide Shutdown documentation. The relevant snippet is below:
- Commercial and industrial photography
- Does not permit retail studios to open
However there are plenty of other forms of photography outside of studio. While they are not closed, my safety protocols for them have increased. Below will give you a breakdown of what service I offer and what protocols I have in place to perform each one safely. This information is based on the Professional Photographers of Canada Association’s guidelines for returning to work during COVID and the CDC. I will also update this information as we progress through the second lockdown’s reopening.
The wedding industry will likely not be the same for a while due to Covid. If you are planning to reschedule your currently booked wedding for a later date, I am keeping the process as simple as possible. There are no fees to reschedule. Service prices are staying the same. And if I am not available for your new date, we cancel the contract. On the chance you paid a deposit, you’ll get a refund. If you are downsizing your wedding to keep your current date, I can help with that as well.
Currently, only a handful of Municipal Offices are issuing marriage licenses on a per case basis. And for those couples who received their license before the lockdown, they will likely expire soon. Certain provinces are renewing these documents for a later date. Ontario currently is not one of them. Wedding officiants can perform marriages under Ontario’s Essential Services Act under article 34viii.
Small gatherings are currently allowed under the restrictions of the new lockdown. If you’re having your event at a venue (indoor or outdoor), the gathering is limited to 10 people. Wether that limit includes vendors is dependent on your venue and what protocols they have in place. If your event is at a private residence, the gather is limited to 10 people (vendors included) for an outdoor event. If your event is indoors, it is limited to just the people of that household. These numbers may vary based on which city/region you’re holding your wedding as each city will be reopening in phases over the next few weeks.
As a photographer who can offer photo and video services simultaneously, I can serve as quite an asset at a time like this. So I am offering special hourly rates for small scale weddings during the current pandemic. I’m also offering video upgrades where you can get your full ceremony video to share with loved ones who couldn’t attend.
How do I reschedule my existing wedding date?
Most venues will give you a few date options to select from. So keep me in the loop when deciding. If you can provide me with 3 date options you are considering, I can let you know my availability before anything is finalized. For new dates, I would recommend Fridays or Sundays as Saturdays are booked up pretty fast. Feel free to send me an inquiry regarding current availability.
If I have your new wedding date available, fantastic. If the date is the only thing that’s changing, you won’t need to sign a new contract. Simply send me an email confirming your request to change dates. On the chance, you are changing locations, time frames, or packages; a fresh contract will need to be written up and signed.
Can I downgrade my current wedding contract?
Absolutely. With the government regulating how many guests you can have at your 2020 wedding, chances are you will be downsizing quite a bit. In order to figure out a package that works for you, please submit an inquiry with the following details. I’ll need these to provide you with a proper quote. We can also arrange a video conference call to go over these details in more depth.
- Your current wedding date
- Time frame
- Services you require (photo, video, photo booth, live stream setup, etc)
How do I book my COVID-Friendly wedding?
If you are a new client who is looking to have a COVID-Friendly wedding or elopement, I can help with that as well. Please submit an inquiry with the following details and we can arrange a video conference call to plan out your event.
- Your wedding date
- Time frame
- Services you require (photo, video, photo booth, live stream setup, etc)
KEEPING WEDDINGS SAFE
Safety-wise, I will wear a mask during the entire event inside and out. I will capture all the key moments from a safe distance using zoom lenses. And, I will verbally guide you through any poses. Sanitizer and disinfecting wipes will be used throughout the day, as well as regular handwashing when possible.
For any 2021 wedding dates, I am not requiring a meal. I will still eat and drink throughout the day. However, I will bring it from home in order to maintain a contact-free service as much as possible.
On the chance, I develop COVID related symptoms, I will be self-quarantining for monitoring purposes. If this happens to overlap with your wedding date, a replacement associate will be provided to take my place. However, I will still follow through with the editing and delivery process after the wedding.
On the chance, your guests are showing symptoms during the event, I do require them to wear a mask. If they do not have a mask, I can provide one for them. But, if they refuse to wear the mask properly or refuse to wear the mask at all; I do retain the right to leave the event and cancel the contract.
Any pre-wedding meetings are currently replaced with phone and video conference calls. And while cash is normally the preferred form of payment, etransfer payments are currently available to limit contact.
Tips for planning a COVID-Friendly wedding
Love is not canceled. There are some precautions you can take in order to have a safe wedding. For example, avoid close contact. The location you decide to have your wedding should allow a safe 6ft (2m) between guests. Limit hugging and handshaking where possible.
Try to reduce your guest count as much as possible. The current regulated maximum is 50 guests for an outdoor wedding ceremony. However, if you’re inviting elderly parents or grandparents, those numbers should be a lot lower. Same applies if you’re expecting guests from abroad, or offering buffet food service.
Take advantage of new COVID related trends.
- Customized wedding masks
- Mini sanitizer party favors
- Drive-thru events
Should I postpone my wedding?
This is very much based on your own comfort level. However, if you fall into the following categories, it may be worth to postpone your event.
- Over the age of 50
- Have a compromised immune system
- Have underlying medical conditions (heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, asthma, etc.)
- Can’t reduce your guest count to a safe number
- Can’t financially afford it right now
What do I tell my guests?
If you are planning on keeping your existing 2021 date, you should probably check in with your RSVPed guests to see where they stand. International guests may have issues flying in at the moment. Some may not even feel comfortable attending a big event right now. The same applies for your vendors. So keep communication open and base your decisions on the feedback.
If you are postponing your wedding date, here’s a little blurb you can use to update your guests on the new plans.
We’ve been watching the coronavirus situation closely. Out of concern for the health of our loved ones, we’ve made the painful decision to postpone our wedding. This is a potentially lethal situation for certain people we love very much. We want them to be able to attend our wedding, and so we will wait until it is a safer time. Sending you all love and wishes for good health.
ENGAGEMENT / MATERNITY / FAMILY SESSIONS
With public parks currently open, I am offering outdoor maternity, family, and engagement shoots. These photography sessions are for groups no more than ten. All people involved must be from the same household. Maternity dresses are currently provided at no extra cost and are washed after each session. However, they are completely optional to use based on your own comfort levels.
Safety-wise, I will wear a mask during the entire session. I will capture all the key moments from a safe distance utilizing zoom lenses. I will verbally guide you through all the poses. And sanitizer will be used if anything requires a hands-on approach.
As my Scarborough based photography studio is currently closed, I’m only offering on-location boudoir sessions. This can be in a hotel, Airbnb, or in the comfort of your own home. Once rental studios begin to open, they can be an option as well. The selection of your location is up to you. If you’d like to use a prop from my boudoir closet, do let me know before your scheduled session. This way I can have it properly disinfected and ready for your appointment. Safety-wise, I will wear a mask during the entire session. I will shoot from a safe distance and provide verbal guidance regarding posing throughout your photography session. Hand sanitizer will be used if anything requires a hands-on approach.
With childcare services such as nannies, babysitters, and daycares cleared to remain open; so are my newborn sessions. During the first lockdown, I completely reworked my portable studio to be incredibly safe for newborns. These photography sessions are in the comfort of your own backyard. Once the winter season hits, these sessions can be moved inside your home. All props, clothes, and backdrops come cleaned after each newborn session. There is also a 3 day buffer between each booked newborn session to limit cross-contamination and proper disinfection.
I will wear an air-sealed filtration mask during the entire session. I will also have a fresh coverall jumpsuit, face shield, and sanitizer available when physically handling the baby. If the baby has sensitive skin, disposable gloves are available as a substitute.
Parents should keep a safe distance during the baby’s portraits. However, if you wish to stay close, you will have to wear a facemask. If you don’t have one, I can provide disposable masks for you. I will also have a portable studio backdrop (grey/white) setup for family portraits.
Keep in mind, the ideal time to photograph newborns is when the baby is 1-2 weeks. Most births do happen in hospitals, and this time frame falls within the incubation period of the virus. So please, if you or the baby are not feeling well, do let me know. We can always reschedule. There are no penalties for last-minute rescheduling even if it is the morning of your session. Let’s all keep safe.
Due to the sheer size and density of Corporate Events, I am not currently offering photo/video services in this industry. I can however provide Livestream services for events like these. I am also still offering Corporate Headshots, product photography, and logo/branding services. So if you’re treating this pandemic as a building year, this is a great time to update your team’s portrait archives and marketing material. For your headshots, I’d bring a portable portrait studio to your office and photograph each member of your team against a neutral backdrop. The entire session is no contact and involves verbal instruction for posing. I’d wear a mask during the entire photography session and disinfect any touched surfaces between each visitor.
Please know that my commitment to you is still a priority. I’m fully aware that finances are tight at the moment. So the simple fact that you are considering my little business for your photography needs is greatly appreciated. I value all the support I’ve been getting from my loyal clients in this difficult time. It is because of you that my affordable services are able to carry on throughout this pandemic. So I just wanted to say thank you. Hopefully, we will be able to do a COVID-Friendly Session sometime this year.